View Full Version : Am I charging enough?

10-28-2003, 07:15 PM
I've been reading a number of posts on the different forums and think I may be considered a lowballer. I am the only LCO in a small rural town so not really hurting anyone but myself (stupid me!!) I worked for a company during university and began charging clients here what we did in the small city. I think my residential rates are low but my commercial rates are ok. I have a lot of seniors on fixed incomes. Here's the breakdown and I'd appreciate some feed back.

I charge $17 for a 50x 100 foot lot that takes 2 of use about 15 minutes to service.

My largest residental takes 20 minutes to service and we charge $25.

Does this seem reasonable?

10-28-2003, 07:24 PM
Well let's just say that in my neck of the woods, I don't stop the truck for anything under $30.00. A $30.00 house takes us between 5-7 minutes. :cool:

10-28-2003, 07:28 PM
WOW!! I'm not off base...I'm outta the park!! thanks for the feedback.

10-28-2003, 07:45 PM
grassroootsinab, also keep in mind paponte runs a 2-3 man crew.

10-28-2003, 07:53 PM
yeah, I i know alot have some minimum charges but $25 for 20 min work is pretty darn good. It is over $1 a minute. and you have very few windshiled miles to pull your time down.

10-28-2003, 08:02 PM
Originally posted by grassrootsinab
WOW!! I'm not off base...I'm outta the park!!

No, you're not!

Paponte operates in NY and you cannot compare what you have with his. Everybody's situation, operation and area is different.
$25 for a 20 minute job is not bad going. If you can do 2 of those type of residentials in an hour, you're talking $50 a hour. Now that's good money for a solo operator in a small town (I assume it's a small town as you mentioned you're the only lco in your town)

$17 a hour is obviously way too low. You can do better than that. You should have a minimum fee per lawn irrespective of how small or how fast you can do it. Like Paponte won't stop for less than $30, I wont stop for less than $25 - it's the same effort you're going through - driving, stopping, offload, cut grass, trim clean off, load, and go to the next job.

Sometimes you have to BS with the client too and that time is your's. I don't say, don't BS with the client, that's also neccesary, but you have to compensate for a lot of things in order to justify your time.

Good luck

10-28-2003, 08:04 PM
Are we talking U.S. or Canadian dollars?

10-28-2003, 08:17 PM
Im in Wisconsin and I dont stop for less than $30. My cheapest mower is $4000, I cant make any money doing a house for $17 unless I had about 6 of them in a row, even then I wouldnt go lower then $25

10-28-2003, 09:54 PM
pcnservices - he did not say $17 per hr. he said $17 for a 15 minute yard - $68 per hr. - Of course we are not considering travel and load - unload time.

I am bidding some big areas at $15 per acre + $20 unload fee., but I can mow 6+ acres per hr with one machine solo. That does make a difference. Most of these will gross approx. $95 per hr.

I do have a machine that if everything was new would cost about $14,000, but it still is better than two $7000 machines because then I would have to hire an operator, pay Workmans Comp, Insurance on him, and more and more and more.

My theory is to stay solo, unless you can run at least 2-3 crews of 2-3 employees each, Then you have to have good managers for each crew, because nobody does it as well as you do.

Thanks Brad

10-28-2003, 09:57 PM
I'm with Ahah,
Canadian or American dollars??
Big difference.

10-28-2003, 09:59 PM
My original cost is in Canadian dollars ($17 Can = 0.50 US:) ) You are right, $17 for 15 minutes on a 2 man crew (2- 21" mowers). I pay a student $8 an hour so I think I'm not hurting too bad. Just wondered how far off.

I run 2-21" JS 63 (deere) mowers and a 38" Deere float deck WB. Thanks for clarifying...I'm not feeling so short changed.

10-28-2003, 10:03 PM
Thanks for the post...you gave me some great ideas. I've never thought about thinking about it in terms of a load/unload fee on top of work. Great Idea!

10-28-2003, 10:05 PM
It sounds about right to me, maybe a bit low. What I shoot for is $30 per man hour, clock in to clock out. But everyone is different, different equipment, area, ect. Dont worry about what people say they make per hour, some will say their amount is for the crew(of how many?), or for just working time, not including driving. Well, i cant speak for others, but i pay my employees for the time spent in the truck as well as doing the lawn we go to. And we all have varying amounts of drive time

10-28-2003, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by Flex-Deck
pcnservices - he did not say $17 per hr. he said $17 for a 15 minute yard - $68 per hr.

:blush: My apologies - I meant to say $17 per yard is way too low.

Good catch!! ;)


10-28-2003, 11:18 PM
Yes, as posted by others we do run crews. Grassrootsinab, also said that price was for 2 people, not a solo operation as some have said. I will clarify why I am saying your a little low.

Of course the cost of living is going to change from area to area, and will play a major factor in determining your prices. The prices you stated I took as dollars. The way you are pricing currently, you are actually robbing yourself.

If you are able to get $25 for 20 minutes of work ($1.25 per minute), you should up your smaller houses a little. At your current rates, even if there was no drive time, no loading or unloading, and you would be able to do 4 houses in an hour... your making less than if you did 3 larger houses. But you are loading and unloading, traveling, etc. So you have no hopes of making $30. per man hour.

That's why so many people have minimums. Maybe around $25. per man hour is good in your neck of the woods. All I know is that trucks, equipment, gas, ins., etc. cost us alot of money. If you show up to a house with over $30K of equipment, it just doesn't cut it. :cool:

10-28-2003, 11:31 PM
Most LCO's around here(Southern Utah), including myself, charge $15 for the average city yard. Yards are considerably small compared to the east and mid-west. Basically $15 for about 1/2 hours worth or work

10-28-2003, 11:43 PM
I think you are right on the money, basicly. Every place is different.Good luck

10-28-2003, 11:53 PM
I dont stop the truck for under 30 bucks. Thats the only I can make any money at it. I have two nice riders that I just got done paying for. Next year its all gravey I cant wait.